The Hungarian Emperor of Madagascar

Moric Benyovszky was a Hungarian aristocrat, soldier, adventurer and emperor...of Madagascar.

Born in 1741, Moric's first career was a military officer. He put his military skills to use when he decided to join the Polish resistance against the Russians. A skilled, dashing fighter, the Poles made him a general and gave him the title of Count, but his luck ran out and he was captured.

Exiled to the desolate Kamchatka peninsula in Siberia, he orchestrated a successful prison revolt amongst other convicts. He had an affair with the local governor's daughter, before deciding to leave before reinforcements would arrive from Moscow. With a captured Russian battleship he and a crew of brigands set sail and explored the Pacific. They visited Japan, Hong Kong and Formosa, before arriving in Madagascar.

At the time Madagascar was still free from European rule, run by a number of disparate tribal kingdoms. Thinking that it would be an ideal place for a colony, he set sail to France and talked Louis XV into some funding and support. With what Moric was given, he returned to Madagascar, chose a few dominant tribes to align with, and after defeating the lesser tribes he was endorsed as Emperor of Madagascar in 1776. After three years rule, where he introduced the Hungarian alphabet, he returned to France, partially to expand trade ties, and partially on the request of his family. To Moric's suprise, the French were not interested in him, nor was the Hungarian Queen, Maria Theresia, although both respectively made him Count with a general's rank in each of their courts.

So Moric tried Britain and the nascent United States, where he acquired goods for his little fledging empire. But when he returned to Madagascar, he discovered that another French Count had recolonised the place while he was away.

Moric fought to reclaim Madagascar, but died in the process in 1784.

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